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Migrant Crisis

Friends,

It’s been a lukewarm minute since I last posted here. Beyond indolence, there was a practical difficulty in that I didn’t have a computer and I absolutely abhor typing with my thumbs.

But no need to labour my absence. Here I am. Back in Canada of all places after 10 months on the road which saw me a tear a righteous strip up and down Arizona with my thumb, have a 4-month, beachfront war of the roses with my ex in Nicaragua, and then spend a similar amount of time in Utila, Honduras getting my divemaster certification (also having my first threesome).

And now I’m back in Canada. Not for long though -in 6 days I’ll be flying to Berlin to move in with my Frau, Anna, whom I met in Honduras. I’m excited to move to Berlin because it will be an opportunity to immerse myself among a critical mass of high-functioning people and see how it affects me.

Also excited to see mein frau -she’s teaching me to speak the German

But how does it feel to be back? Like shit honestly. Everything is falling apart at the seams. I feel unhealthy, depressed, angry, repressed and apprehensive. I don’t wanna be in this fuckin’ country. If I don’t hate it I feel hatred toward it. I didn’t want to come back and it’s only because Canada is kinda on the way to Germany that I decided to stop here.

It hasn’t all been bad of course. For starters I get to see family and friends which is always lovely. Particularly I was fortunate in that my two-week window back here happened to coincide with my cousin Sarah’s wedding


Smaller in stature; Larger in retardation

And of course, I got to see my grandmother, Sheila who has been struggling with cancer for the better part of my absence. After seeing her briefly at the wedding this past Saturday (her first foray out of the hospital since being admitted months ago), I again saw her at the hospital the next day. and we talked and joked in a very familiar way, almost oblivious to the sterile surroundings. As we left, I lingered behind to say what I understood might be my final good-bye to her.
We spoke some more and then I grabbed her hand and smiled -it wasn’t an affected smile trying to fight back tears or hide hurt, but rather a large and genuine smile as one soul may give to another as they part ways after a brief (30 year) and benevolent time together.
She said to me, “I guess this is good-bye for a long time.”
“Yes,” I responded, immediately aware that she was talking about more than just my upcoming departure to Germania.
At that she gave me a kiss and told me to take it with me. After one final squeeze I backed away from her still smiling, feeling more closure and peace than anyone in my position might reasonably expect to feel. She’s right, it is good-bye for a “long time,” but I’l see her again, either in this life or the next.

***********

The upshot of all this is that I’m ready to be on my way. As I mentioned above, I don’t feel healthy here. Three years ago was the last winter I spent in Canada and my health suffered drastically, partly as a result of the lack of light and probably partly as an indirect result of depression induced by coming out of a major break-up. From what I understand, Berlin’s weather is more comparable to southern Ontario’s weather than it is to Latin America’s and so this gives me pause.
As well as my concern for my own health, I know that in winter people tend to clam up, stay indoors and generally not be as open. I tend shine brightest in the sun and from what I can tell I have more power to uplift those around me in said circumstances. Bearing that in mind I will have to make extra efforts to engage and interact, rather than resign myself to wintry isolation.
I’m scared though.

Another thing that troubles me about being in Canada is the politically-correct culture. It has in the last few years had such a deleterious effect on me and my confidence as a man that repeated excursions to the developing world became a must; Say what you will about Central America and it’s problems with violence and machismo, but at least you can call something what it is without people complaining that you’re being offensive.
This PC culture, or perhaps more accurately this Socially-Sanctioned Self-Delusion, has indeed fallen to the periphery of my awareness in my absence from Canada, but it never quite disappeared as I was always plugged into social media. However, coming back here, even for a brief few weeks I’m sickened by the atrophied spirit of people.
Is it the weather getting people down? Perhaps.
Is it my own projections bringing me down? Likely that too.
Still, there is a resignation that people have to their own inability to say the things they’re inclined to say and act the way they’re inclined to act. I say “inclined” instead of “want” because I get the sense that people have convinced themselves they don’t want to speak truth. I recognize this behaviour because I suffer from it too and I’m trying to recover so perhaps I’m more sensitive to it. Yet even catching snippets of SNL and Seth Meyers I am reminded constantly that ostensible taboos are framed as “I can’t say _____” rather than “If I say ____ there will be consequences.” The latter is true but the former becomes a limiting belief and it’s a limiting belief that is pushed forcefully on the masses. This is perhaps what I object to most: the snarky voice of progressive western culture saying “You can’t do/say that!”
Don’t ever believe anyone when they tell you that you can’t do something -they are misguided devils trying to limit the godliness within you insofar as it finds expression through your voice and hands.
Normally it wouldn’t be too much of a problem cause I’m only here for two weeks, but I’m moving to Berlin which from what I understand is a very “progressive” city, and unfortunately the experiences I’ve had show me that progressiveness often goes hand in hand with repression. So in the same way I’ll have to double my efforts to keep my energy up, I’ll have to double my efforts to speak my own truth. My first order of business will be getting a job chopping vegetables -I need a few weeks of some mundane labour to process all the experiences and info I’ve been gathering over the last two years and I think prep work in a kitchen is the route I’ll go.

Winter is coming. My watch has just begun. But if there is any silver lining, it’s that I understand Germany is quite amenable to unskilled fighting-age males with darker complexions.


This is the face I’ll endeavor to face this new challenge and all new challenges with.

Best,
-Andre Guantanamo

#MigrantCrisis

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Why The Olympics Suck

“Nationalism is an infantile disease; it is the measles of mankind.”
-Albert Einstein

My Friends,
   Forgive me if I blaspheme by denouncing that most highly-esteemed of international sporting events, but this has been a long time coming.  The Olympics are a sad statement of where we are at as a species, and fraught with hypocrisy, divisiveness and tribalism.  Before I begin, I wish to make clear that I don’t take issue with sport itself.  Quite the contrary; athleticism and physical performance are virtues to me and those who achieve great feats deserve recognition.
   No, my qualm is with all the bullshit which the Olympics, but also other international sporting events such as the World Cup, heap onto the pure competition of sport.  This criticism extends also to a lesser extent to professional, intra-national sport, such as NFL, NHL, NBA, etc.  All of these sporting events help to make up what is referred to as The Spectacle, a concept explained by Guy Debord and The Situationist International during the 1950s and 60s, which I have alluded to in previous entries but which merits re-defining here.  Quite simply:

The spectacle in general, as the concrete inversion of life, is the autonomous movement of the non-living.

Clear? No? Okay, well it is a complicated concept but it has to do with the reification of illusion and how that illusion is taken as superior to reality.  Allow me to explain to you what the spectacle means to me aka MY OWN PERSONAL TAKE.
   Aside from the practical concern of how the spectacular images we see in mainstream media everyday serve to distract us from the real doings of the powerful behind closed doors, there are more, let’s say abstract concerns when the public puts its stock into illusion instead of reality.  And while these latter, abstract concerns might indeed be of a less pressing nature in the short-term, over a longer time-span they have a sublime influence on our disposition and lives.

Let me break this into examples.

Practical Outcome of the Spectacle:
   Everyone has at least a cursory familiarity with the sensationalized deaths of Whitney Houston, Trayvon Martin, MIchael Jackson, etc.  Furthermore they are appalled by various scandals like ORNGE and others where many thousands or sometimes millions of dollars are embezzled or otherwise misappropriated.
   Yet at the same time, perhaps because of such spectacular distractions, few are aware that the Canadian taxpayers alone pay $160 million per day to cover the interest of borrowing all of our money into existence from commercial banks.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but very little of your tax dollars goes toward infrastructure.

To me, this is us being blinded by the spectacle of corruption while being uninterested in the reality of corruption
In contrast:
Abstract Outcomes of the Spectacle:
   We are made to identify with and become rabidly defensive of certain manufactured notions and images.  Often this is presented as duality (i.e. Republican vs. Democrats) but for the purposes of this post it can be related to organized sport.  In this realm, there are not two, but many manufactured sides, factions and alignments to choose from.  On the intra-national level there’s stupidity…
…like this…

…which is actually indoctrinated and fomented from a very young age.***

Silly inter-city rivalries are just that, silly.  But when you take into account that some of the most bitter rivalries are between two teams from the same city (i.e. Inter-MIlan vs AC Milan) you start to wonder why cities are going to war with themselves.
   Once you take things international however, as in the case of the World Cup or Euro Cup, things get proper retarded.  I don’t know about you but I hate seeing this shit come World Cup/Euro Cup:


This sort of mindless devotion to a nation-state and its pride/honour brings me to the Olympics, the subject of this post.  Why do we feel the need to heap so much extra shit on the competition of Olympic athletes?  Why do I need a tale of the tape to amp up my emotions so that I can properly appreciate some long-shot athlete from whereverthefuck-istan’s performance in some obscure so-called sport which actually evolved from primitive tribal rituals?
   Well probably because I wouldn’t give a fuck about that sport, athlete and country if the network didn’t appeal to my emotions.  In fact, if the competition in question was not so inextricably intertwined with my emotions (and really, the outcome of my life) due to the heart-wrenching five-minute TV-spot on this athlete’s courage and dedication which I just endured, I might realize that its just a sport and not terribly important to me.
   Well we can’t have people just tuning out otherwise advertisers wouldn’t pay for air-time.  So we’re gonna make you care about these countries the same way we make you want to go to war with them during the lulls between Olympiads, by appealing to the honour neurosis.
   It is really easy to do this.

1. Isolate some sort of widely-held group identity touchstone.  (Nationality in the case of the Olympics)
2. Show lots of people running around with flags having a good time interspersed with footage of athletic excellence
3. Have some monotonous, unsexy voice spout some SUPERSRSLY (sic.) drivel about national pride, “this time we’re giving our all,” showing our pride, etc…
4. MAKE IT EXPLICITLY CLEAR THAT WE ARE RALLYING FOR PEACE AND NOT WAR….this time.  This can be done by saying some contradiction like, “We are all united by our mutual competition and irreconcilable differences.”  It doesn’t make any logical sense but it allows the poison of nationalism to be administered while still sounding ostensibly peaceful.
5. Have a word or slogan which can be (SPECTACLE ALERT) reified into something more real and tangible in spite of the term’s inherent ambiguity

I’ll just leave this here…

6. ????
7. PROFIT!!

   Now watch how this plays out in teh real world…

CTV ain’t no fool.  If you watch carefully they checked all the boxes:
1. Canada
2. Entire Video
3. Entire Video
4. 0:46
5. Entire Video

Believe.  That’s some heavy shit right there.  Belief in general is like a sacred burial ground in most people’s minds which you better not disturb.  Specifically, it is the burial ground where rational thought is laid to rest.
Belief in fact makes a virtue of not thinking, so I can see the appeal of this promotion.  For the record, I’m no different.  I remember getting caught up in another company’s (far superior) “believe” campaign a few years back:
London 2012 ain’t shit when it comes to heartstring manipulation

Halo 3’s “Believe” campaign was masterful in my opinion, every bit as good as the game itself.  Particularly heart-wrenching were the faux-interviews with veterans of the Human-Covenant war where they recounted the horrors they experienced.  It actually got me misty-eyed more than once.
   Now you might think that its stupid of me to get so emotionally caught up in a video game and at the same time criticize the emotion heaped onto the Olympics, but lets examine that shall we?  I at no point mistake the Halo 3 campaign for real life.  There is a rich back-story to the game and these TV spots play with my emotions the same way a piece of literature might.  But its fiction, it knows its fiction, I know its fiction, it does not masquerade as real life and it makes no apologies for being fiction.
   When you look at the CTV Olympiad fucktardation in contrast, you see that a fiction is being created and passed off as real life.  There is nothing “real” about the Olympics beyond athletic competition.  All of the national pride, honour and posturing is filler and I would argue that its damaging because it leads to needless rivalries and resentment between so-called nation-states which are nothing more than arbitrary lines drawn on a map and rarely reflective of actual regional affinities in the broadest sense.
   Look at Afghanistan for example: Afghan nationalism is a bad joke because there is no Afghan nation, just ethnic groups with varying degrees of power and size, more or less shoe-horned into a weirdly shaped bit of geography in South Central Asia.  The most dominant ethnic group, the Pashto could conceivably become their own nation if they wanted but I remember being emphatically told not to use the term Pashtunistan (“land of the Pashto”) in front of Afghan people because it would incite fierce nationalistic emotions and opinions which the invented nationality (Afghan) simply could not.
   Are we immune to this kind of fabricated nationality in North America?  Absolutely not.  Say there was an Olympic competition between an American from Buffalo, NY (108 km from me) and a Canadian from Whitehorse, Yukon (5218 km from me), I could, as a nationalistic Canadian, be reasonably expected to cheer for the guy from the Yukon even though I have never been there and share no regional affiliation with him, rather than the guy who lives a life more or less like mine an hour away.  Such is the “logic” of nationalistic fervour.  
   If you want more proof of how contrived and pointless national affiliations are, ask Xerxes about how his million-strong, multi-ethnic Persian army fared against a couple of Spartans.
On second thought, don’t ask, don’t tell…ZING!

   I think we should recognize the Olympics for what it is; a necessary evil.  It is so far one of the few stages for excellent athletes to test their skills against their peers across the globe without paying out of their own pocket to facilitate these meet-ups.  Unfortunately we must deal with all the other bullshit that goes along with it if we are to enjoy the athleticism of pure sport.  By other bullshit I mean primarily advertisements from sponsors looking to bolster their market-share, and advertisements from the home nation’s government trying to reinforce its sovereignty by piggy-backing on the achievements of the athletes who live under its fictional jurisdiction.
“LOOK!! A guy who resides in the artificial construct known as ‘Canada’ just won a gold medal, the highest award in a similarly artificial construct known as ‘The Olympics.’  By virtue of his achievement you are now proud to be Canadian.”
…And we all were

No thanks.
   The next time you see a spectacular Olympic performance from a so-called “rival country” and you are forced to grudgingly admit that they deserve the medal, remember a few things:
1. The country does not deserve the medal, the athlete(s) does
2. You personally have no rivals in a sport you are not competing in.  You are a spectator.
3. You are not giving up your respect to a member of a rival nation, but to a fellow human being.  
Enjoy your spectacle!
Stay Thirsty,
-Andre Guantanamo
***I purposefully abstained from mentioning the riots in Vancouver after the Canucks lost the cup to the Bruins because to simply view that as a sports riot is reductive.  But that is a story for another day.

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6 Day Adventure Recap: 6 October 2011 – 11 Oct 2011 LONG!!!!

My Friends,
   What a week.  I went hard for seven days straight, implementing austerity measures and trimming for speed.  So much happened Im gonna rock it point-form style for your perusing pleasure.

Thurs Oct 6 2011 – A Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins With a Single Step…
   I was supposed to leave Rota early  in the morning and catch the ferry to Cadiz to leave with the two Annas in their rental car for Gibraltar and from there, Malaga.  However, I woke up late as the bed at Ricky´s place was dumb comfortable.  With a heavy heart, I emailed and called the Annas and let them know I would not make it in time and they should go on without me.  Fortunately, Ricky was at the same time hosting Wolfgang and Javier who were also heading to Cadiz to pick up a car and head south, not as far south, but it was a start. 
-Wolfie and Javier dropped me off at a rest station about half an hour south of Cadiz.  I was reticent to start hitchiking on a freeway but I figured I had ground to cover and nobody ever got anything done by being a pussy (Courage Wolf)
-picked up almost immediately by Jose who drove fast and got me 10 km shy of Tarifa. dope!
-after climbiong some medieval tower on the side of the road I began hitching again and was picked up by three Russians, Sergei Andrej and Dimitri, who took me all the way to Tarifa. NOTE: my name is Sergio Andre Jose and at this point I had been picked up by a Sergei, an Andrej and a Jose all in the same morning and afternoon.  What are the odds? 
-Kept walking east to Gibhraltar and got scooped up by Bianca, a sweet lady and the first solo female to pick me up on this trip.  She took me to Algeciras (pronounced like Al-Jazeera in plural), and advised me to stay off the freeway.  I didnt listen.  Walked all the way from Algeciras to La Linea, the city outside Gibraltar because nobody apparently wanted to stop on the highway to pick me up.  Slept on a secluded sand dune in sight of the Rock of Gibraltar
PROGRESS MADE: Rota to La Linea

Fri Oct 7 2011
-Woke up with the sun after a fitful sleep and began walking the last few kilometres to Gibraltar.  When I got there I was struck by how dissimilar it was to Spain.  Ive never been to London but it was what I pictured London looking like (ie red telephone booths)
-I searched the streets for mens pants because my beloved desert camo cargos had gotten ripped by the crotch the previous day and I decided they were beyond repair.  found some tight fitting green cargos at a store called peacock.  Theyre very…lets say European.  But tight pants are better than no pants.
-took the bus to the Strait of Gibraltar to have a burial at sea for my cargos.  This may seem weird but you must understand that these pants had been with me for many adventures and furthermore had not been stolen in Madeira.  They had great sentimental value to me and it upset me to part with them.  I hopped over a wall to a cliff overlooking the sea.  After weighting them with a rock, pouring some brandy on them and a quick eulogy I threw them in the drink.  It was a fitting end for a worthy pair of pants
-walking back through Gibraltar to Spain I noticed a sign for a Royal Air Force hangar (RAF).  It occurred to me that as a member of NATO and the Commonwealth to boot, I may be able to arrange a service flight (free flight on military cargo planes) if they were wont to provide them,  After doin some asking, I got a hold of a sergeant named Alec who told me that they didnt do Indulgence Flights, (most of their planes were tied up in Afghanistan) but that I should come to the mess for some beers, it being noon on a Friday and therefore quitting time for military personnel (this rule applies in Canada too).  I could fucks with this and after they fed me a few beers (I wanted to pay but only had euros and they took pounds), I bid them adieu and had a wobbly walk back to Spain.
– got picked after about an hour or so by Toby who took me all the way to Malaga airport.  This was rather seredipitous as they two Annas were there waiting for a flight back to Holland and I got to say a proper goodbye, plus a free place to sleep (if you can tolerate the announcements every ten minutes and people walking around near your head, airport terminals make great sleeping spots).  I had made it to Malaga and only a day later than planned.  Would such luck hold out?
PROGRESS MADE: La Linea to Gibraltar to Malaga

Sat Oct 8 2011
-got woken up by starbucks guy at airport who said I couldnt sleep in their restaurant area.  took the bus (driver was a prick) from the airport to Malaga proper to begin the journey to Granada.  stopped at a farmers market for some veggies, cheap bread and expensive coffee, and plus because it would make my woman happy because shes loves farmers markets (nerd)
-walked north on the freeway cause I decided that was how I was gonna roll from now.  after a couple of hours got a lift at a gas stn from a German dude and Hungarian girl who took me just a few clicks up the road til the cutoff for thier destination.  No swet though because I got pìcked up soon thereafter by Stefano, Theresa and Hannah, who were traveling, wouldnt you know it, to Granda.  At this point I was convinced noone could really fuck with me when it came to this whole hitchhiking shit.  But pride goeth before a fall, as I would soon find out
-after doing a tour of the city and getting some tapas (ps they do tapas right in Granada; whereas many Spanish cities market tapas as a menu item, in Granada you order a beer for 2 euros and they bring you food with it, were talking good sized appetizer portions here) I parted ways with my new friends and began the frustrating walk out of Granada.  With the noontime sun not providing a great directional reference and no compass to speak of I was desperately trying to find someone who spoke English well enough and who knew directions well enough to point me to a highway out of the city.  I ended up walking from one end to the other.  While frustrating, i admit i did do some great sightseeing. by the end though I had my first freakout and started cursing loudly the stupid fucks I was surrounded by who didnt even know their own city. 
-finally I chanced upon a British Petroleum station, a good sign because petrol means highways.  I instantly forgave them for the spill in the gulf of Mexico and managed to thumb a quick lift to the highway east, and then another lift about 40 km to Guadix.  I thought my fortune had taken a turn for the awesome but it was the beginning of the hardest 24 hours of the week.
-while walking east on the highyway, la Guarda Civil Traffico (Spanish OPP essentially) stopped me and told me to get the fuck off the freeway.  grudgingly I did and headed into Guadix.  I found out there were no national roads (ok to walk on with enough traffic to make hitching possible), only freeways (which I had gotten kicked off of) and the service road (no traffic to speak of).  Still over 200 km from the next major city of Murcia I found myself in somewhat of a SNAFU but resolved to check the bus stn. 
-the estacion por autobus looked like a dilapadated building from Fallout 3.  I found out that they only did service to Granada on weekends and after making my escape from there I sure as fuck wasnt going back
-went into the bathroom to rock a piss.  the flicking dim light was creepy enough but then I heard shambly footsteps and Darth Vader breathing approaching.  My butthole clenched up and I thought shit, Im gonna die in this one burro town.  Fortunately, it was not Don Diego de la Vader, but some old Spanish man with a tube in his neck likely from years of smoking.  After reasoning that I could probably kick his old Spanish ass if he tried anything, I felt a lot better
-I resolved to head to the service road and head east all night in the nearly full moonlight.  I went a little crazy this night as I was by myself in the desert and I realized that if someone came up on me and wanted to MDKR me, (murder death kill rape) I really wouldnt have much help forthcoming.  Thus ignoring my hitching instincts, I made a game of jumping into the bushes and canyons which adorned the side of the road every time a vehicle appraoched.  my heart was beating in my chest and the adrenaline made me forget that I was in bare feet and stepping in thorns, rocks, etc.. Plus I did all this while cradling a carton of wine, which perhaps contributed to my mania
-sometime after midnight I reached Ville Hernan and slept in the moonlight under a tree
PROGRESS MADE: Malaga to Granada to Guadix to Ville Hernan

Sun Oct 9 2011
-got up before the sun and got on the highway just as the sun was rising over the mountains.  it was incredibly beuatiful and I figured at this early hour I could get a couple hours of hitching on the freeway in before the next shift of traffic cops putt a stop to my antics
-grabbed a coffee from a rest stop and after another hour of walking I noticed a police jeep westbound getting off the ramp.  I thought for sure he was going to get on the eastbound portion and kick me off the highway.  however, to my shortlived delight he kept on going down the street he exited on.  I fancied myself untouchable and kept on
-half an hour later I was approaching a bridge which spanned a canyon and I saw two motorcycle cops (the kind who had kicked me off the highweay the previous evening) approaching westbound.  I had no illusions about it: they were after me.  I waited til they were out of sight and hopped over the bridge into the canyon below.  It was steep and rocky with thorns, vines and thorny vines.  I felt a little like Cool Hand Luke ducking the law as I was.  After scraping the fuck out of my hands and feet and ankles and every exposed part of my body (ps dont run from the law with flip-flops and a backpack on; it sucks) I made it to the bottom where there were some horses and a river.  I peed in the river as I crossed and made my way up the other side of the canyon constantly looking the several hundred feet up to the bridge to see if 5-0 had gotten wise to my escape.
-back on the highway I was thinking how clever I was then BAM, the pigs caught up with me and escorted me off the highwway instructing me to walk this shitty desert dirt road which led to a train station allegedly.  I felt a little like Clint Eastwood in The Good The Bad and The Ugly, when Eli Wallach forces him to walk through the desert.  I wasn’t too far from where they filmed it which kind of added to the experience.  After going what I assume was the wrong way at an unmarked fork in the road I ended up at a another highway rest area where I regrouped and decided that I would sacrfice mobility for the chance of a ride by standing on the rest areas ramp to the highway with my thumb out.  This was an ok compromise as 5-0 saw me and let me be.  But after hours people kept driving by.  It was kind of upsetting when I thought oif how many people passing plain didnt give a fuck about me. 
-finally at around 630 this one dude reluctantly said he would take me to Lorca where they had eastbound trains.  he was short with me at first but warmed up as we talked (he spoke no English ftr)
-took the train from Lorca to Murcia and crashed in a constrrction site til the next morning
PRGRESS MADE: Ville Hernan to Lorca to Murcia

Monday Oct 10 2011
-caught the early train to Alicante and made it to the beach just in time for a beautiful sunrise over the water.  copped some groceries and I was ghost.  decided to play it smart and stick to the national roads north to Valencia for hitching so 5-0 wouldnt harrass me.  It was slow at first but over the course of the day got five hits if memory serves.  Noone took me very far but every little bit helps.
-after the last guy dropped me off just before sunset I proceeded to head east as the prospects for catching a ride diminished with the sun.  I had gotten used to hitting a target city per day at this point and was mad I wasnt going to make it to Valenica.  Then two police coming from the opposite direction espied me walking with my thumb out and in their infinite cuntery wagged their finger at it.  Great!  I had just had my first warning which meant that I now had to walk looking over my shoulder so they didnt fine me for catching me again.
-I kept truckin til I got south of Cellura and made camp in one of the Valencia orange groves that had began popping up around me.  After several nights of little sleep I crushed a ten hour stint and woke up after the sunrise which was unusual.
PROGRESS MADE: Murcia to Alicante to south of Cellura

Tuesday Oct 11 2011
-I figured Id keep my thumb out as I departed for Cekkura and the train stn there.  In my frustration I had resolved to take a train to Valencia and then Barcelona because I had wanted to reach Barcelona within a week of leaving Rota.  Maria picked me up and she was the sweetest girl who said something that made me cry.  [hitchhiking] is hard, but its beautiful.  It was like in Lord of War when the president of Liberia says “bath of blood” instead of “bloodbath” and “lord of war” instead of “warlord,” and insists that he likes his way of saying it better; perhaps she didnt mean beautiful the way we mean beatiful when we say it, but she meant something deeper which resonated with me.  she was on her way to class in Valenica and dropped me off near her school where I jumped on the freeway
-getting on the freeway was a mistake because I was trying to throw a hail mary (people on the freeways will typically be going farther than those on national roads) so early in the day and nobody was biting.  I found a couple of euros on the side of the freeway and a reflective vest which I attached to my backpack for safety.  My feet, which has been suffering all week because I had been walking kilometres every day in shitty flip flops really started to hurt, especially my left ankle.  I took a detour in a nearby town where I cursed my bad luck and grabbed some groceries.  Although I had previously contemplated hopping a train to Barcelona when my luck was bad, my 11th hour victories always led me to let my luck ride which is why I had proceeded to walk out of Valencia.  I was again thinking of resigning my self to a bus when I saw a Johnnie Walker billboard which had the slogan Keep Walking.  I took it as a sign (everything is a sign when youre desperate) and limped on, crushing a click or two north on the beach then back to the highway. 
-at length on the highway I got picked up by Xavien who spoke English well enough but couldn’t understand it for shit and was hard of hearing, and insisted I sit in the back cause people in the front made him nervous.  (you meet all types when hitching).  We talked about politics and music and he lamented his wasted life (he wanted to have adventures like me but never did).  I tried to reassure him by saying that adventure sucks.  I wasnt lying: I was really down on things at that point realizing that I was still 300 km from Barcelona and in pain from walking.  Xavien took me 40 km further north of his destination but balked at taking me another 2km to a gas station so left me in the middle of nowhere.  I though how very human of him: We all want to do right by each other and we show so much promise in that regard.  Then we fuck up the endgame.
-dropping me in the middle of nowhere was a blessing in disguise though because I walked to a BP and began journal writing as an Algerian couple, Ali and Keira got there.  Ali said something to me in French then we got to talking and he began asking me about what I was writing.  Then his wife began talking to me (neither spoke English btw).  When they ascertained that I was going to Barcelona they offered me a ride because it just so happened they were going to Barcelona as well.  It was 8 oclock and I had been about to find an orchard to sleep in and I pulled off the 11th hour surprise win of a lifetime.  I couldnt believe my luck.
PROGRESS MADE: South of Cellura to Valencia to BARCELONA!!!!!!!! VICTORY 

Of course it wasnt luck, because my luck had been shitty all day.  Perseverance has been my most important asset on the road.  You gotta keep at it especially when it sucks and noone stops for you.  My emotions have been up and down all week and I have cried out of despair more than once.  But then I have been jubilant and ecstatic too.  Im gonna probably crash in Barcelona for one more night before heading to France and then Italy to see my cousin Stephen.  It might be a tough road but if youre going through hell, keep going.  (Courage Wolf)
Stay Thirsty
-Andre Guantanamo

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